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Parent Connection Slating Three Events At Congregational Church



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UPDATE (Tuesday, March 29, 2023): The April 11 event detailed below has been postponed by the organizers. Look for a rescheduled date in our online calendar as soon as it becomes available.

UPDATE (Tuesday, March 14, 2023): Due to the inclement weather, the March 14 "Substance Use and Addiction" panel discussion is canceled. Organizers are hoping to reschedule for another date.

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Dorrie Carolan, whose Newtown Parent Connection has rebranded and expanded to host support groups and prevention activities throughout western and central Connecticut, is bringing a series of Connecticut Parent Connection events home to Newtown Congregational Church in the coming weeks.

Carolan has announced the first of these prevention-centered events will be happening from 7 to 8:30 on March 14, in person in the church’s Great Room at 14 West Street, and will feature a panel discussing the topic: “Substance Use and Addiction — Balancing our Hopes and Concerns.”

It will be moderated by Allison Fulton, executive director of the Western CT Coalition, which serves a number of communities including Newtown. According to its website the coalition delivers services through its Strategic Prevention Framework — a data-driven, evidence-based prevention model developed by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

The coalition promotes this system to support behavioral health, continuum of care, and to enhance the quality of life at every stage.

Panelists for the March 14 event include Nuvance health system psychiatrist Dr Charles Herrick, who is chair of psychiatry for Danbury and Norwalk Hospitals; Newtown Community Policing Division Sgt Will Chapman; and filmmaker Greg Williams of Third Horizon Strategies. Williams is a strategic health policy consultant and communications specialist.

As a person in longterm recovery from addiction, Williams’s career has been dedicated toward creating positive changes in access to quality health care and recovery supports for the over 20 million Americans still struggling with addiction.

“Allison will provide highlights of some of the work being coordinated across the state and how people can get involved, and Dr Herrick will discuss addiction disorders and brain science,” Carolan explained. “Greg will tell his own story, and discuss efforts to improve treatment and progress being made among the recovery community, and Sgt Chapman will talk about what is happening around the Newtown area.”

This as well as the second event planned for April 11 is underwritten with support from the Heisman Trophy Trust, and will bring in an authority on vaping, smoking, and drinking prevention.

That event, titled “Drinking, Smoking, Vaping: Trends in Teen Use and What Parents Can Do,” will feature Liz Jorgensen CADC, Director of Insight Counseling. It will also begin at 7:30 pm in the Newtown Congregational Church Great Room.

“Due to the rise in our youth having respiratory issues due to vaping and smoking, we thought this program was important,” Carolan said.

Jorgensen has 30 years’ experience with adolescent and adult psychotherapy and counseling, and is a nationally recognized expert in counseling, particularly in engaging resistant teens and motivating them to change. She was the coordinator of Adolescent Substance Abuse Services at Danbury Hospital and created and ran a dual diagnosis partial hospital, intensive outpatient and outpatient services in her 18 years there.

Since 2000 Jorgensen has been the owner and director of Insight Counseling in Ridgefield, where she collaborates with colleagues to run a full spectrum of outpatient counseling programs, including intensive outpatient services for adolescents and young adults. Liz is also a consultant to Newport Academy, an adolescent treatment system with residential centers and outpatient centers in California and Connecticut.

Jorgensen received a Congressional Award in 1994 for her work in treatment innovation and prevention, a Community Service Award from RYASAP in 2008, the HVCASA Community Service Award in 2009 and she has held various leadership roles in nonprofits and community prevention coalitions.

Carolan told The Newtown Bee that the final event in the series, date TBD, will welcome a prevention expert from either the US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) or the US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).

“Depending on the agency person who is available on the selected date, they will either address addiction prevention involving drugs, alcohol, and/or tobacco,” Carolan added.

Learn more about the Newtown-based CT Parent Connection by visiting ctparentconnection.org.

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